In August 2015 I watched the BBC Newsnight and the Kirsty Wark interview of Molly Parkin, I was immediately captivated and intrigued by this enigmatic woman who spoke of Andy Warhol in such a warm and easy manner. Molly Parkin was being interviewed about the Pop-art Retrospective at the TATE Modern. During the interview Parkin described Warhol as a “strange and wonderful creature” and said when she arrived at a party that Warhol would “rush up” to her and continually take photographs of her without ever saying anything. She said he was a “stalker with a camera”.
I found myself mesmerized by Molly Parkin; her whole persona was captivating and personified by the amazing Frida Kahlo dress she was wearing. During the interview Parkin mentioned that she was having an exhibition in Swansea in September so I decided that I would try to contact her to gain permission to photograph her during her Swansea show. I managed to track her down and she agreed to me photographing her at Jane Simpson’s Galerie Simpson in Swansea. I had noted during the Kirsty Wark interview that Parkin had mentioned that Warhol had never given her any of the photographs that he taken of her and offered all my images for her own use.
On my arrival at Galerie Simpson I was overwhelmed with the number of people at the Parkin show, guests were everywhere, even spilling-out onto the pavement. Having watched the Kirsty Wark interview I was expecting to see a flamboyant, centre-of-attention diva, but what I witnessed was a wonderful, warm-hearted people-person who hung on every word of the guests that had come to see her. Molly Parkin listened intently to everyone who came to speak with her and engaged everyone with her eyes. Molly’s lovely sister was there too (she’s the one wearing the leather trilby hat, see fig.#5) and she too exhibited amazing warmth with everyone at the exhibition, obviously a family trait.
As a photographer at the exhibition I felt very much an observer and not a participant and I am disheartened that I didn’t make a better effort to talk with Molly Parkin. Molly Parkin had a profound effect on me and I still remember my time in her presence with fondness.